3D modeling will bring schools of research robots closer

(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from Skoltech, the Higher School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry of Paris, the University of Chiba, and the Japan Agency for the Science and Technology of the Sea and the Earth conducted 3D modeling and showed that a fish in a flock is able to sense the position and movement of its neighbor’s tail by the pressure drops on its side.

It is believed that this mechanism allows fish, even in complete darkness, to synchronize and group in such a way as to swim with a minimum expenditure of energy. Understanding the collective movement of fish is needed to predict their migration and to create energy-efficient and imperceptible research robots for the inhabitants of the ocean.

It is believed that swimming in a flock of fish can save energy by adjusting the relative position and adjusting to each other’s movements.

But to do this in the dark or muddy water, relying on vision is not enough. “In this work, we simulate the joint movement in calm waters of the red-nosed tetra in the amount of two fish with different options for relative positioning.

We consider signals in the form of pressure drops that reach from one fish to another. Although it is not known how these signals are processed, at least it becomes clear that they really reach the sensory organs on the side of the fish, stand out against the background of external noise and contain information about the position and movement of the neighbor’s tail, ”comments one of the authors, associate professor of the Center Skoltech Materials Technologies Dmitry Kolomensky.

He says that new studies could consider more noisy, and therefore more realistic, environments and increase the number of simulated fish. In addition, artificial intelligence could help figure out how the fish process the received signals.

Previously, another research group at Skoltech demonstrated the potential of AI in this area by using it to understand the neural processes behind another kind of collective movement, the circling observed in ants and other animals.

Modular, collective solutions are also a current trend in robotics. One project looking at swarms, or ensembles, of robots is a study by Skoltech scientists that will be published in the May issue of Acta Astronautica.

Their article looks at an eight-wheeled rover that can function as a system of four two-wheeled robots and thus make the most of its time on Mars.

Similarly, flocks of “robofish” equipped with pressure sensors can take advantage of hydrodynamic movement in a group.

Perhaps someday they will replace larger autonomous submersibles for researching shipwrecks, like the one that was discovered on March 5 by the Endurance ship that sank 107 years ago in the Arctic. Fish-like vehicles are especially useful for studying the behavior of ocean dwellers, who are more likely to mistake them for their own.

Among other things, understanding how fish conserve food energy by moving in schools is useful for calculations that predict the migration of species important to fisheries.

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